The tablet war rages on and it is still not completely clear who will be the eventual victor (perhaps no single vendor at all). Will it be Apple (and their new iPad 2) or Motorola and the Xoom, their new tablet running Android 3.0 (Honeycomb) or perhaps another up-and-comer? Of course, many have already anointed Apple as the winner, but it has been just over a year since the first iPad appeared, and hardly anything is ever decided in a year.
Although it may seem that cost would be the main factor in determining the champ here, these tablets are more complex than merely price tags. There are more than a few other interesting specs that might determine the winners and losers. We’ll start off with the size and go from there. Scroll down to the end to see a summary table.
Display Size and Resolution
The Motorola Xoom has a huge 10.1 inch display having a 1280×800 pixels resolution and also a 16 to 9 aspect ratio. This makes the Xoom ideal for browsing the Internet and watching videos. The iPad 2 comes in at the same size as its predecessor (9.7″) with a slightly smaller 1024×768 resolution.
The Xoom was the first Android-based tablet running Android 3.0 Honeycomb, an operating system made specifically for tablets. The optimized OS included drag and drop management on the home screen and also core applications (like Gmail, GTalk, Maps) with tablet-optimized versions.
The iPad 2 uses the iOS platform with the updated 4.3.1 version. Although some new gestures are used for getting back to your home screen and multitasking, it is clearly difficult to decide the winner. Sure, the iOS fans will swear by the iPad, but newbs to either will be hard-pressed to pick a clear winner.
Although growing rapidly the Android market lags behind App Store in sheer number of applications. However a lot more free content is available on Android. The Apple’s App Store keeps on going from strength to strength and is likely to continue doing so in 2011.
The App Store has a subscription-based pay system which makes it extremely attractive to publishers. For example, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is now using this for his iPad only newspaper. Here the reasonably clear winner is iPad 2.
One particularly huge difference is that of Adobe Flash support. Flash is used extensively on the Web for video and other applications. Apple refuses to support Flash on its iOS platform, while Android openly embraces it.
Xoom was the first tablet that included NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 1 GHz dual core processor that gets you faster multitasking and an extremely slick user experience along with a 1080p video. It also has a 1 GB RAM on board that really ramps up the things in terms of speed.
Apple has however managed to run even with Motorola here by updating the iPad 2 processor to a dual-core Apple A5 and but shorter on RAM with only 512MB. But a step up from the original iPad’s 256MB.
The Xoom has 32 GB space for storage and you can add another 32 MB by way of an SD memory card. The iPad 2 is available in 16, 32 and 64 GB models. It is another dead tie in terms of storage with both devices potentially holding 64 GB data.
Xoom has 2 cameras for video and photos. The rear facing camera is an excellent 5 MP one with auto-focus and LED flash and the front-facing one clocks in at 2 MP. The iPad 2 also has 2 cameras, with the rear one able to handle 720p.
This is still a tough battle, with some important pros and cons on both sides. Some folks may just want Apple’s slickly designed and tightly integrated hardware and software, while others may want the more open Android platform. On the bright side, you can’t go totally wrong choosing either product.
|Specifications||iPad 2||Motorola Xoom|
|OS||iOS 4.3||Android 3.0 Honeycomb|
|Screen size||9.7 inches, 1024×768 pixels||10.1 inches, 1280×800 pixels|
|Thickness||0.34 inches||0.5 inches|
|Weight||1.33 pounds (WiFi),1.34 pounds(3G)||1.6 pounds|
|Cameras||Front and rear cameras||Front: 2 MP, Rear:5 MP|
|Battery Life||10 hours (WiFi), 9 hours (3G)||10 hours (WiFi), 9 hours (3G)|
|4G/3G Carriers||AT&T and Verizon 3G||Verizon 4G coming soon, Verizon 3G|
|Adobe Flash||No Flash support||Flash 10 support|
|Wi-Fi||802.11 a, b, g and n||802.11 a, b, g and n|
|Storage||16,32 and 64 GB models||32 GB Flash storage|
|Price||Starting at $499 for the 16GB WiFi-only model||$600 – Wi-Fi Only (32 GB)|